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UMM chancellor Sam Schuman and his wife, Nancy, swing at the annual spring ball.
Jazz lives on in Glenwood at the spring ball
UMM jazz ensembles raise funds to rebuild the Lakeside Ballroom
By Gayla Marty
From Brief, April 14, 2004
When the historic Lakeside Ballroom on Lake Minnewaska went up in a blaze last June, a lot of people thought an era had finally ended in the west central Minnesota town of Glenwood. But the sounds of big-band jazz and the dance-floor sparkle of a silver ball will light up the town once again on Friday night, April 16. This year, the annual fundraiser for the University of Minnesota, Morris, will also raise funds to rebuild the Lakeside. "The ballroom was historically monumental for this area," says James "Doc" Carlson, director of the UMM Jazz Ensembles. Carlson is a Glenwood native, who returned to the area years ago as a professor of music at Morris. In its hey-day, the Lakeside attracted big bands including Glen Miller, Louis Armstrong, and Lawrence Welk. Glenwood was a mid-week stopover for bands playing in Sioux Falls and Moorhead, according to Jim Gremmels, a Glenwood resident and UMM professor emeritus. Morris is about 25 miles from Glenwood, and jazz is big on campus. Carlson, a collector of big-band arrangement scores, has attracted student talent. UMM jazz musicians have toured the country and played with the Count Basie Orchestra in Carnegie Hall. They've also toured Europe, including the Netherlands, France, and the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. A few years back, the first spring ball was held as a retirement party for UMM chancellor Jack Imholte and Gremmels, a professor of English. Carlson brought the UMM Jazz Ensembles. "Everybody had such a good time that we decided to do it again the next year," says Gremmels. The spring ball at the Lakeside became a tradition and a fundraiser for a campus humanities project and scholarship. A groundswell of support After the 2003 fire that destroyed the ballroom, a groundswell of support emerged from near and far to rebuild it. The UMM Jazz Ensembles played a fundraiser in October at Central Square, an art deco building that is now part of the community high school, not far from the Lakeside site. "When they volunteered to play, it had only been about three months since the fire," says Barbara Marquardt, chair of the Rebuild Lakeside Committee. "It really gave us a boost. It was a wonderful thing for the community to be able to come together, to see Doc Carlson there and hear the music, and to dance." It only seemed natural that UMM's spring ball would become part of the effort to rebuild the Lakeside and expand the event's fundraising mission. This 2004 spring ball will be held at Central Square. Hosts once again will be former UMM chancellor John Imholte and Jim Gremmels. The ball runs from 8 to 11:30. Free dance lessons given by instructors from the UMM Swing Dance Club begin at 7:15. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students. Prizes will be awarded for the best-dressed and best-dancing couples.